Food & Culture

Do you know your green teas?

From genmaicha to gyokuro, here are five green teas we're sipping right now.

By Matthew Hirsch
China might be the birthplace of green tea, but its pleasures are universal. Here are five types worth seeking out.

1. Jasmine downy pearls

Watching these leaves, meticulously hand-rolled into little marbles, unfurl in hot water has a soothing effect that's amplified by the potent scent of jasmine in full bloom. The flavour? Unmistakably floral and upfront. The body? Soft and smooth. The finish? Bright and lingering. $21.50 for 50gm. theteacentre.com.au

2. Gyokuro

One of Japan's rarest and most highly sought-after teas, gyokuro is shade-grown for a few weeks before the harvest. The lustrous, dark green needle-like leaves are packed with chlorophyll as a result, yielding a pale lime-coloured brew brimming with vegetal, seaweedy complexity. $49 for 100gm. t2tea.com

3. Genmaicha

A few colourful myths surround its origins, but the likely truth is that genmaicha came about as a way to make a luxury product more affordable for the masses. The deeply nourishing, savoury blend of tea leaves and toasted kernels of brown rice is now a staple of Japanese culture. $11.95 for 100gm. spiralfoods.com.au

4. Lung Ching

Also known as Dragon Well, this renowned Chinese tea hails from the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. Make the most of its slightly creamy mouthfeel and gentle, nutty taste by tipping some tea and the steeped leaves into a wok with prawns, rice wine, cornflour and eggwhite – a Hangzhou specialty. $37 for 50gm. quali-tea.com

5. Roasted Green

Roasting the leaves imparts a toasty and faintly smoky character to this single-origin tea from north-eastern Victoria. There's a delicate malty sweetness at play too, akin to that of hojicha, which makes it a smart choice for black-tea loyalists in search of something new. Peak winter drinking. $20.50 for 80gm. ttotalertea.com